Category Archives: Food (makes life worth living)

Growin’ okra

I’m growing okra of all things. I don’t really get enough sun for vegetable growing. Even if things start out ok, they don’t typically prosper. It had never occurred to me to try growing a modestly obscure vegetable like okra, but someone was giving away seeds and since I do love okra, it wasn’t all that strange an idea. Why not? Why not try to grow okra in the strange, tumultuous year that is 2020? I had low expectations but nothing to lose.

I found a few different spots in the busy yard to tuck in seeds. I removed two bricks from the patio, added dirt, and planted seeds. I put some in pots & some in an unused bed. Well damned if they didn’t grow! And what a pretty plant. I had no idea what they’d look like. Here’s the two plants in the patio in August in front of the permanent black-eyed susans bed.

Then they got beautiful flowers, that each lasted only one day. The flowers alone were worth it. Here’s one from the ground plant & one from a pot.

From the blooms grow the okra pod, one to a bloom. And they grow fast. I harvested 2 and oh yes, I cooked (diced & oven roasted with a little olive oil) and ate my okra, scanty though they were.😀

You have to see how the okra pods grows. Isn’t it wild? Upside down!

The plants are growing tall & a little gawky but when they don’t have enough sun that’s typical. Here’s the patio ones today. I cut down the susans the other day; I don’t like messy, spent flowers.

Yesterday I doubled my “harvest” and picked four okra. My oh my, we feast now.😀 I joke, but I really do think they’re beautiful. And I absolutely want to plant okra seeds next year, if only for the plant itself. You just never know what direction good things might be coming from. Simple, good, happy things like a lovely plant that pleased me daily this summer.

Pasta Salad

With the summer heat still in play, I don’t feel like doing a lot of cooking (and even less baking) but I do it. A pasta salad involves minimal cooking but still lets you get all your nutrients. For this one, I used a whole grain pasta which makes it even healthier. I don’t know about you but while I don’t like long whole grain pasta (spaghetti, etc) I do like it okay in smaller pastas (rotini, etc). I tried whole grain egg noodles once & those were good too.

My philosophy is to make plenty & have it over several days. I don’t get bored because all the additions keep it interesting. As with my big salads, I just see what I have on hand and add ingredients till there’s no more room in the bowl.😊 (This is my biggest bowl; 5″ deep, 10″ diameter. )

Whole grain rotini, 2 cups pre-cooking

Chickpeas, several cups

12  oz cooked frozen cauliflower

2 tomatoes, chopped

Roasted red peppers from jar

Fresh cilantro

Raw sunflower seeds

Can of tuna

Two chopped green onions

Button mushrooms, sliced thin

Feta cheese

Green olives, chopped

Two dill puckles, chopped

Dry dill seasoning

Mix of canola & olive oils

Balsamic vinegar

Summer Salad

Love, love, love salad. I make big-ass bowls of salad for myself all the time. It takes awhile to add all the various ingredients but the results are worth it. I just see what I have on hand & go from there. Basically I add ingredients until I run out of room in the bowl!

Romaine lettuce
Fresh Cilantro
Roma tomato (home grown!)
Chopped marinated red pepper
Sliced Daikon radish
Diced Red onion
6 halved Kalamata olives
Feta cheese crumbles
Oil & vinegar
Fresh ground Black Pepper
Nutritional yeast

(Other ingredient options: Half a can tuna, hard boiled egg, raw sunflower seeds, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, green peppercorns, capers, sliced button mushrooms, diced green onions, diced dill pickles)

Summer Pizza

It’s been a long time since I put up any food/cooking posts and two years since I last did a homemade pizza post. I make pizza from scratch every week. It’s fantastic.😊 On a whim I’m calling this one I made for lunch today Summer Pizza; it’s got summer ingredients and a bit of heat. I won’t go through the whole step-by-step on how I made this but I’ll tell you what’s on it. I know not everybody wants to use the oven at the end of July but I don’t mind; it’s only on about 15 minutes & I get a feast for my trouble.

I make a combined whole wheat flour & white flour dough, roughly 2/3 to 1/3, with yeast, water & a very modest amount of canola oil. That’s it. It’s in the 90’s outside today and not much cooler in the kitchen, so that dough rose fast!

Toppings: a dash of olive oil, a few small pieces of sliced, sharp cheddar cheese, fresh chopped tomatoes, thin sliced red onion, halved black olives, fresh Basil, diced jalapenos, and salt-free Chili powder. The only salt is whatever salt is in the cheese but it’s not needed.

The key when making a pizza with wet ingredients like chopped tomatoes, is to bake the crust with the olive oil on it for about 5 minutes before adding the vegetables. This forms a “base” so that the moisture doesn’t penetrate the crust & make it soggy. You just have to remember not to bake it the full amount of time after adding toppings (about 10 minutes).

Was it good? OH-MY-GOD.



Let’s eat!

I am always in love with food but during the pandemic I’m besotted. I know I’m not alone. You know how everything tastes like cardboard when you’re grieving? I’ve decided this is the opposite: everything tastes FABULOUS.

The TV pundits say we’re eating out of boredom. I dunno. I’m not bored. Many things but not bored. We comfort ourselves with food too. That’s long-standing wisdom. I am comforted by food but this isn’t mindless eating I’m talking about, where someone shovels things in without really even tasting it or even knowing quite what they ate. It’s pleasure, a reward for living, for doing what has to be done. Sleep, food and sex are life’s essential rewards, right? I mean it doesn’t say it in the Constitution but that’s how I see it. Some people consider one or two or all three of that trio bothersome. I don’t understand such people.😀

If you stayed with me during the quarantine you’d eat well. I’ve made salmon vegetable soup, bisquits, pancakes, crepes, pan and deep-dish “Grandma’s Pizza”, pumpkin raisin muffins, lemon bread, spaghetti, linguine with kalamata olives & artichoke hearts, salmon loaf with wild rice, ziti & tuna with green olives & garlic, twice-baked potatoes mixed with sour cream & chives, healthy cookies, sesame noodles, chickpea/crushed tomatoes/pumpkin soup with lemon juice & curry, and even johnny-cakes — these are made of cornmeal & boiling water and then cooked in a big skillet. I had a bag of cornmeal in the fridge with a “best by” date of Sept 2019. It looked ok to me.😊

The main thing I want and am not having are the big-ass salads that are mainstays in my “cuisine.” I just think lettuce is too iffy now. You can’t cook it or scrub it so I’ve tearfully eliminated lettuce for the time being. It’s not like lettuce, with its various recalls and E. coli outbreaks didn’t already have enough troubles.😕

I’m also craving shellfish and cheesecake. Not necessarily together. Those aren’t going to be happening either.

I’m fortunate to not be worried about food.

I think food should be front and center in life and too often its role is afterthought or even chore. That’s all wrong; we are nothing without food and it deserves to be lauded and celebrated. I’m on it.